Episode 4 centered in on Boulder’s newly-appointed committee and their deliberations prior to the big community meeting as well as decision to send 3 spies to Las Vegas.
Prior to the meeting they try and figure out who the best spokesperson would be and argue about much to tell the community about the visit and information from Heck Drogan in last week’s episode.
There are several scenes that are presumably in Glen’s house in Boulder, but it’s hard to tell after a point what’s happening before and/or after the big community meeting. Interspersed with these home scenes (with Nick, Fran, Stu, Glen and Larry) are scenes from the community meeting itself: the crowd heckling Stu as he tries to be the spokesperson, Larry “warming up” the crowd by telling them to be patient and acknowledging the Power Crew, Body Crew and teachers in their turn. People are happy about the power being turned back on again. Stu also says now the Body Crew is about finished, they can be the City Watch. Harold gets up and proposes they make the Ad Hoc committee the permanent committee to which the crowd applauds and whoops in approval.
Harold & Teddy Weizack are getting gear from Stu and Larry to begin the City Watch. Harold sees Stu and looks like he’s about to explode, but hears a crow cawing in the distance (Flagg keeping watch?) and calms down…just in time to find a brochure in his City Watch jacket about using explosives to aid in avalanche threats, and he smiles. Later, he goes home where Nadine is waiting for him in the dar. She proposes they work together to hurt the Boulder Free Zone on Randall Flagg’s behalf…she begins her seduction. She knows he’s a virgin, and says she is one too…that Flagg is the one who will take her V-card, but she and Harold can basically do everything else besides that. Harold quickly succumbs to her whims. Still later, we see the two of them skulking around in the dark at a ranger station, in front of a door that says “Authorized Personnel Only” – which they open and find a bunch of explosives. They are working on loading them into Harold’s truck when Weizak finds Nadine – he is kissing up to her when Harold shows up, doesn’t even seem to suspect them of anything, but Nadine shoots him dead. Harold seems stunned and horrified as Weizak falls into his arms. This is all occurring while the rest of the community is elsewhere, turning on the power, with Larry doing his best Jimi Hendrix on stage, playing “America the Beautiful” on the electric guitar.
Stu, Frannie, Glen & Harold Flashbacks are in there too – Fran starts awake from a nightmare and Harold is awake next to a campfire, watching her sleep. He tries to kiss her & professes his love, which she spurns and tells him she’ll never have those feelings for him. Meanwhile, Glen and Stu and driving and come upon one of Harold’s signs. They think they will catch up to he and Frannie soon. Stu says Harold “made an impression” and Glen teases Stu that apparently, he Fran did as well. The next day (presumably), Fran and Harold are on their scooters and come upon a roadblock. Harold starts to make a sign on the side of a giant, jackknifed semi, when suddenly, the semi-driver (Garvey) comes out of the truck with a gun. He has two female hostages, and handcuffs Fran to be the third, but challenges Harold to fight for her. Harold is terrified, and Garvey beats up on him pretty badly. Since he is distracted, the women make signals and refer to a metal pipe a few yards away. Another vehicle is coming down the road in the distance, and Garvey starts shooting. The vehicle stops a ways off and the inhabitants get out and take cover, shooting back (yay! It’s Glen and Stu!). While Garvey is distracted, one of the women Fran is hostage with (Dayna Jurgens) grabs the lead pipe and strikes him with it, but doesn’t get in a good blow, and he shoots the other woman dead. Dayna beats Garvey to death with the pipe, and Stu and Glen swoop in. Later, they have a campfire out the back of a school bus where Glen and Stu invite the others to join forces to go find Mother Abigail. They discuss having the dreams. Harold is skeptical; Glen appeals to him as a “man of science”. Later still, everyone is sleeping in the school bus. Frannie is again woken up by a nightmare. She goes outside the bus to talk to Stu, who is standing watch and tending the campfire. She asks if he’s dreamed about the Dark Man – he has. Then she tells him she’s pregnant. He comforts her. Harold is watching.
We also get a memorable Nick and Tom flashback – they’re in what looks like a bus depot, Tom is going through found luggage and Nick is lying on a couch, making notes. He’s napping when he gets nudged with the end of a rifle – book fans will recognize her as Julie Lawry. He tells her he’s deaf. She tells him he’s hot for a deaf guy, says she’s been lonely and kisses him. Bewildered, he’s kind of into it. They kiss again. She climbs on top of him, but they are interrupted by Tom. She trains her rifle on him, while Nick jumps to his defense. She has a bit of mean-spirited fun
at their expense when Nick gives her a note to tell Tom his name. “Amari Tard!” she tells Tom, who says it, then is doubtful. Nick is annoyed too, and she sighs and tells Tom Nick’s actual name, whereupon Tom is very excited. Julie tells Nick he should “ditch the tard”, but of course, Nick won’t. They start to leave. She pleads with them to let her come with them and when they won’t, she begins shooting. They run for their lives and get away…and discover they are leaning against a sign for what looks like the “Hemingford Home” retirement community, which gets them really excited. In the next scene, Mother Abigail is there, with only the corpses of her fellow community members for company. Nick and Tom find her, and they are all very happy to see one another.
In present day, the committee suggests 3 spies to send out west: Frannie suggests Dayna Jurgens. Larry suggests Judge Harris. They both accept. The third spy, which Glen proposes, is Tom Cullen. They waffle a little, but ultimately, decide to send him. He agrees to it, and Nick & Larry drive him out to the highway and send him off on his bike.
Throughout the episode, there are several voiceover bits of Fran writing in her journal to montages of the committee getting ready for the meeting, snow-covered mountains etc. She is writing to her unborn child.
Largely, all these events happened in the book, in one way or another, though many of them took liberties. I don’t want to become THAT PERSON who goes on and on about that, so I won’t…well, I’ll try my best not to do it TOO much, going forward.
I am glad they decided to include the Garvey subplot, though it was a little watered down. The Stand was the first postapocalyptic book I ever read, and after reading and viewing much more in this genre since then, (not to mention how people act in the current dystopia that is the United States), it would feel inaccurate not to illustrate some of the opportunists and flat-out villains that always appear (basically The Walking Dead’s bread and butter, but no post-apocalyptic tale is without this element). “Hell is other people” after all, according to Jean-Paul Sartre!
The “Hemingford Home” retirement community poster was a fun discovery, as none other than Stephen King is pictured as one of its residents! Bahahahahaaaaaa! I was kind of mildly annoyed that Mother Abigail was in a retirement home, though, as I liked King’s version where she still lived in the house in Nebraska where she was born that still had no indoor toilet. Nick and Tom arrive with a bunch of other folks including Ralph (not Ray) Brentner, and she cooks them up a big chicken dinner, and THEN they all drive out to Boulder. I love Whoopi Goldberg, but this Mother Abigail isn’t quite as tough as nails as the literary one. M-O-O-N spells Mother Abigail.
I liked the whole City Watch/Ski Ranger Station fitting into Harold’s plot, though I was bummed about the offing of Weizak, since he has become a much larger character in the series. He ultimately dies in the book as well, but telling how would spoil part of the plot, so I’ll refrain, for now. Suffice it to say, it’s still at Nadine’s but also Harold’s hand.
I kinda dig that Glen Bateman appears to be a big pot head. He’s always got his vape close by. I’m really loving how Greg Kinnear is interpreting him. Larry emptied out a bottle of pills towards the beginning of the episode and I rolled my eyes at the continued, yet half-hearted “substance abuser” subplot. I’m annoyed they’ve really watered down Larry’s redemption arc.
Was happy to see Judge Harris is now a woman (Gabrielle Rose), and Dayna Jurgens played by (kickASS!) Latina actor Natalie Martinez! I don’t like Frannie in this series as much as I liked her in the book. She’s okay, but I feel like she’s playing second fiddle to the dudes. Nick and Tom will always be my favorite duo, and I’m still a bit butt-hurt that their backstory has been so truncated. To their credit, they have managed to illustrate how much they care about each other, despite slashing through so much of their story.
And Larry rocking out on the electric guitar to play us out of the episode? Magic. I give this episode a solid B.
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